Hugh Jackman talks about playing a baddie in Chappie and learning to speak the Australian way
Hugh Jackman thinks being a hero sucks! The 46-year-old actor, who has often admitted to being tired of playing the good guy, didn’t think twice before signing up for the role of Vincent Moore in Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie. Jackman’s second robot film (after Real Steel in 2011), it is about a cop droid that is redesigned to feel and think like a human. Besides playing a baddie in the science fiction, the Wolverine star also gets a new hairdo, a mullet. While Blomkamp wanted him to sound Aussie, Jackman’s natural accent was found embarrassingly wanting and the Australian had to Google the Aussie dialect to accentuate his Down Under drawl. Pandering to the wicked side again, the actor will be seen playing a bad guy with a beard in the next Peter Pan movie, Pan. More from the him:
What drew you to Chappie?
The first thing was Neill. I was a massive fan of District 9. He told me the story, which I really liked—I thought it was interesting—right in his wheelhouse. I also think it’s a very valid argument about artificial intelligence and where we’re going.
Could you describe Vincent for us?
Vincent is a guy who is against artificial intelligence. He sees a world where things can get out of control, and I think it’s a genuine argument. He starts off as quite a likable guy—a kind of straight-talking Aussie. His world is shrinking, in a way, and his possibilities are shrinking, too.
The film is more than just a thriller. It has some big themes.
Absolutely. It’s a very emotional story about this innocent being coming into this world, and how impressionable we all are, and how our destinies can all be changed by our surroundings and circumstances. When you speak with Neill, his knowledge on science and philosophy is extraordinary. He can talk to you until the cows come home about consciousness—what is consciousness. That is something that is really explored in this film.
How did it work with Sharlto, who plays Chappie?
Sharlto even walks in the way that the character would. He’s an extraordinary actor. He improvises and you are absolutely interacting, which makes a massive difference. This felt, by far, the most organic.
Did he look like Chappie?
Oh yeah. He was wearing this dark grey suit, but interestingly, Sharlto really wanted to get into the method of it. At one point he becomes more gangsta—because he’s adopted by this gang, and they’re trying to teach him to be cool—so he’d actually wear shorts that’d hang around the bottom of his arse, just to give him the walk (laughs).
Did you know about Die Antwoord who are appearing in the film?
It was actually Neill who put me on to them. He said, ‘I’m thinking of casting these guys,’ and told me the story. Obviously, I’m very middle of the road in that I’d never heard of them. Funnily enough, since then, I think they’re becoming more mainstream. They’re amazing. Now I hear their music and I see them around.
Chappie is scheduled to release on March 13.